Unfolding the Changing Landscape: Women's Journey in the Tech Industry

Unfolding the Changing Landscape: Women's Journey in the Tech Industry

By: Mamta Talwar, Vice President, Corporate Digital Initiatives, Xceedance

Mamta is a digital transformation leader with over 27 years of experience in delivering end-to-end business solutions. She has expertise in various technologies, including Blockchain, AI/ML, and cloud computing. Mamta has worked with global organizations and holds certifications in program management, scrum practices, and IT strategy. 

In an interaction with Women Entrepreneur India, Mamta shares her insights about women’s evolving role in tech and strategies for their growth. She emphasizes the alignment with gender equality, inclusivity, ethics, and social responsibility.

How do you see the role of women evolving in the technology industry, and what strategies would be implemented to foster their growth within the organization?

The role of women in tech is poised for significant evolution. Here's a glimpse into the future:

There will be a shift from Underrepresented to Leading Forces. The number of women in tech leadership is expected to rise. This will lead to a more balanced industry perspective and a pipeline of female role models for future generations.

Women will play a crucial role in shaping the direction of technology and the Tech Landscape. Their unique perspectives will influence product design and user experience addressing issues that often get overlooked otherwise.

As more women rise in tech, they will advocate for diverse workforces and will be champions of Diversity and Inclusion. This will lead to a more inclusive environment that fosters creativity and innovation.

Strategies to Foster Women's Growth in Tech Companies:

Training to identify and mitigate unconscious bias in hiring, promotion, and project allocation can level the playing field and will help to manage unconscious biases. Utilization of bias detection tools to identify and mitigate gender bias in algorithms and data sets used in the technology. Strive for diverse data sets when training algorithms to avoid perpetuating existing gender biases.

Also encouraging a culture that values skills and contributions over gender will open doors for qualified women.

Matching women at leadership level with junior women for guidance and career development is critical. Mentorship and Sponsorship Programs can help in this and there are organizations like PMI, WICCI, etc. who are making conscious efforts towards this.

What steps would be taken to ensure that the technology initiatives align with the principles of gender equality and inclusivity?

This can be achieved by defining the strategy at the top and rigorous implementation of the same. Below are a few pointers which can help to define the same:

Start by assessing the existing gender landscape within the organization and the technology initiative. Identify any gaps, biases, or discriminatory practices that may exist. This analysis should examine the participation, access, and benefits of technology initiatives for different genders. Include diverse stakeholders and representatives from different gender groups in the design and decision-making process of the technology initiative.

Clearly articulate the gender equality and inclusivity targets that the technology initiative should achieve. For example, ensure equal representation and meaningful participation of all genders in decision-making processes, or close the digital gender divide by providing equal access to technology. The more measurable these are, the faster the implementation of E&I.

Make sure that all genders have equal opportunities to benefit from the technology initiative. This may involve ensuring affordable access to technology or addressing any barriers faced by specific gender groups. This shall be followed by establishing mechanisms to monitor the impact of the technology initiative on gender equality and inclusivity.

Finally, reflect on the lessons learned and adapt the technology initiative accordingly. Regularly communicate and engage with the affected stakeholders to gather feedback incorporate their perspectives and strive to embed gender equality and inclusivity principles within the organizational culture. Foster an inclusive and respectful workplace environment that values diversity and actively supports gender mainstreaming across all technology projects and initiatives.

What do you see as the current challenges and opportunities for women in technology, and how do you address them?

Over the last few years, some work has been done in this area, but it still needs a lot of focus & attention to enable women in technology.

There is a lack of visible role models and mentors for aspiring women in technology. This absence can make it difficult for women to envision themselves pursuing careers in the field and diminish their confidence. Women in technology frequently experience a gender pay gap, earning less than their male counterparts for similar roles. This gap further perpetuates gender inequality and diminishes the motivation for women to pursue or stay in technology careers. Organizations shall conduct regular pay audits to identify and address any gender pay gaps. Promote transparent salary policies and ensure equitable compensation for all employees based on their skills, experience, and contributions.

On the opportunity side, the tech industry is booming, with a growing demand for skilled workers. This presents a great opportunity for women to build successful careers in this field. Further, the rise of remote work allows for more flexibility and can help women overcome work-life balance challenges. Many organizations are actively seeking to diversify their workforce and create a more inclusive environment. This is positive for women looking to enter or progress in the tech industry. Encourage organizations to implement gender-inclusive recruitment practices, such as blind hiring techniques and diverse interview panels. This can help combat unconscious biases and ensure equal opportunities for women.

In your opinion, how can we ensure that technology initiatives align with ethical standards and social responsibility?

Organizations should define and articulate their ethical guidelines and principles for technology development, deployment, and use. These guidelines should address issues such as privacy, data security, algorithmic bias, and the potential impact of technology on society. It is crucial to involve experts from various fields, including ethics, social sciences, and humanities, in the design and development of technology initiatives. This interdisciplinary collaboration can help identify potential ethical issues and ensure a broader perspective during the decision-making process.

Before implementing new technology initiatives, organizations should conduct thorough assessments of potential ethical implications. This includes evaluating the social, economic, and environmental impacts of the technology, as well as considering any potential biases or risks associated with its use.

Technology initiatives must prioritize data governance, ensuring the protection of user information and privacy rights. Implementing robust security measures, obtaining informed consent, and being transparent about data collection, storage, and usage practices are essential for upholding ethical standards. Also engaging with regulatory bodies and standards organizations can help ensure that technology initiatives adhere to legal and industry standards.

Technology initiatives should be regularly monitored and reviewed to ensure ongoing compliance with ethical standards. This involves encouraging employees to consider ethical implications, supporting interdisciplinary research, and providing resources for ethical training and education.